So much of what happens in our youth programs at church pours out of these events and they take an enormous amount of support to pull off.
Taido and Bobby and their incredibly gifted, not to mention detail-oriented, camp director and camp chefs put in a lot of sweat, blood and prayer (well, maybe not blood) on the front end to make these weekends special.
Plus they have to recruit lots of folks just to make it happen. Driving, cooking, running ropes, leading music, leading small groups, running games, praying and playing hard are just some of the jobs that have to be filled for a successful camp weekend. And of course, a willingness to do all of the above on less than the normally allotted time for sleep.
I had not been to a camp in a long time. Since Taido always goes, I usually stay home and hold down the fort, but this past year I really wanted to go along with our middle school students since I had started volunteering there.
Camp provides so much more opportunity than a Sunday morning for connection with students. Giving students a break from their normal environment and taking them to a place where it might be quiet enough to hear God speak are just a couple of the great reasons we do these camps.
Last year was special for me because a precious friend of ours who came up through this same youth group years ago and is now doing teen ministry in another state came to speak.
He was deeply honest as he spoke about the struggles of his own life, as well as in revealing his own heart for kids today, who face all kinds of hardships. It was incredibly moving for me to watch him love our kids.
He spent time getting to know them and shared from his deep passion to see students understand that in a world where much is expected from them, they are enough in Jesus. Good enough.
He used video and songs and stories to paint the picture for us of how hard it is to be growing up today. At every turn, kids are bombarded with the message that they need to be better, stronger, cuter, smarter…just more, more, more than they already are.
I loved hearing him speak and remembering him as a crafty 7th grade boy. Seeing that 7th grade boys really can turn out to be grown men of integrity and purpose was hugely encouraging to me.
Also, of course, I so enjoyed getting to watch Cole in his element. He loves camp. Loves it. The first time he went to camp I think he drank 46 root beers at the snack shack. He spent every dime he had on soda. Plus a lot of other peoples’ dimes. He has scaled it way back. He is growing up, slowly. This will be his last season as a middle school camper, and Mary Polly’s first. Even though it is still two months away, they are both looking forward to it. Recruiting even.
And so are we.
That’s right. Cooler temperatures and Castle Bluff camps will be here before you know it. Can. Not. Wait.
You don’t have to go to Fellowship to send your kiddo. Anyone is welcome.
Oh, one more thing.
The 6th-8th Castle Bluff camp was on Halloween weekend last year. I was sad to leave all my Harry Potter characters at home for Halloween, but Aunt Whitney, Uncle Peter and Grandjules made sure they had a super fun Halloween weekend without their mama around.
I mention this because it is one of the many, many ways that my family covered for me this past year as I branched out a little, trying on new commitments for size. There were many days I was at work (or at camp) thanking God for how my family members were willing to pick up the pieces behind me, supporting me all the way.